Factories to Calories Fulton Market Food Tour for UChicago Alumni

Tour this industrial-to-chic neighborhood's architectural relics and sample delicious foods.

Join fellow University of Chicago alumni on a cultural food tour by foot with discoveries of dramatic transformations of Chicago’s most rapidly booming neighborhood. Chicago Detours Guide and UChicago alumni Alex Bean will lead this walking tour.


We call our Fulton Market food tour the “Factories to Calories” tour because of the area’s shift from a place of production of appliances, furniture and meat products to a hub of consumption of food and drink. This neighborhood walking tour starts with a grand view. You’ll see the train and highway systems that made the Fulton Market neighborhood into a vital industrial and meatpacking district. From there, we’re off on a one-mile jaunt through a neighborhood defined by change.

Over the course of this two-hour excursion, you’ll get a glimpse of Fulton Market’s meatpacking past and enjoy a taste of its gourmand present. Tour guests will sample some of the culinary delights of Fulton Market without feeling overstuffed. You’ll get to taste artisanal deli meats from Publican Quality Meats and half of the signature sub at J.P. Graziano, a family-owned shop in its third generation. The neighborhood tour finishes with pickles and a craft beer sample at Haymarket Pub & Brewery. Please keep in mind that this is an educational tour. We will eat a light amount and most of all learn!

Until very recently, Fulton Market was a gritty meatpacking district. You’ll see the historic Fulton Market buildings that housed 19th-century meat and produce vendors. Today, of course, they’re home to an array of high-end restaurants. We’ll discuss how even the streets and sidewalks themselves were designed to aid the often grisly work of butchering and processing meat.

Beyond that, this UChicago alumni event explores just how quickly the neighborhood has changed and gentrified. As recently as the ’80s and ’90s, Fulton Market was home to underground parties, drug busts and low-rent art galleries. Today you will find high-end retailers and headquarters for corporations like Google and McDonald’s.

And how did this all happen?! Your professional tour guide will talk about how the city of Chicago eased the way for all this development over the past 20 years. As we walk through the neighborhood, we will see active demolition and construction. Finally, we’ll discuss the infamous Haymarket Affair and labor history with drinks and snacks at the eponymous brewpub.

Our events with UChicago alumni sell out quickly. This is limited to 14 guests. We advise you to book asap if interested! OR IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT, WE OFFER THE TOUR REGULARLY TO THE PUBLIC. SEE PUBLIC TOUR SCHEDULE HERE.

We hope you’ll join us. You’ll get to meet the ever interesting community of UChicago alumni! Book your tour now as our events with the University of Chicago Alumni Club usually sell out. If you can’t make it on this date, please consider our other UChicago Alumni Association tours we are offering:



In business since 2010, Chicago Detours was started by a UChicago alumna. We are proud to be a top-rated Chicago tour company with five-stars on Yelp and TripAdvisor. Many of our Chicago architecture walking tours integrate historic bars, food, and music history. We hope you’ll join us to explore stories and places locals don’t even know, both downtown and in Chicago neighborhoods!

This Fulton Market food tour is also available as a private group tour for nine or more guests, a great choice for a Chicago corporate team building event.


2 Hours


1 mile


  • Days & Times
  • Friday, August 24th


  • Redeveloped meatpacking facilities, now trendy restaurants
  • A giant cold storage facility, now Google offices
  • "Gourmet Food Trend Row"
  • The striking art deco Richter Foods building
  • Hidden clues in the landscape tied to the meatpacking past

Stories & Ideas

  • Chicago's meatpacking history and the role of Fulton Market
  • Impact of transportation infrastructure on neighborhood identity
  • The industrial neighborhood disappearing before our eyes
  • Family businesses and traditions
  • Urban renewal and redevelopment
  • Labor history and the Haymarket Affair

Tour Includes

  • Engaging tour guide commentary
  • Artisanal deli meat sample from Publican Quality Meats
  • Beverage and half-size signature sub at J.P. Graziano
  • Sample-size glass of beer and pickles at Haymarket Pub & Brewery
  • All gratuities for servers
  • Special gifts

Tour Reviews

This neighborhood food tour was full of really interesting details about the history and buildings of Fulton Market. Our tour guide was full of knowledge and his enthusiasm was really contagious, too. And, of course, the food was awesome!

Tour Meeting Spot

Our walking tours starts inside Stumptown Coffee Roasters at 311 N. Morgan St.

The neighborhood tour ends inside the Haymarket Pub & Brewery at 737 W. Randolph St.

Book Now

Call Us: 312.350.1131
E-Mail Us: [email protected]